The big thing behind their development is they’re an independent studio earning money largely through donations from interested gamers who want to see the game made. It’s sort of like raising venture capital on a grassroots scale. They were encouraging donations by offering little things like shiny avatars and badges and extra or advance content access, but now for the next few months they’re offering shares in their holding company for people who contribute above a certain amount, at an average price of $5 per share.
A paste from their official announcement is included below:
Today, Gert – the majority shareholder in Zero Point Holding A/S – launches his “Shares for Support Medals Giveaway” initiative, taking crowd-funding to a whole new level!
The following message is from Gert Haar-Jørgensen the co-founder and majority shareholder in Zero Point Holding A/S (ZPH), the company that owns all IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) for the Interstellar Marines franchise:
My name is Gert, the so-called “rich uncle” and to cut to the chase my crazy idea is to give away shares for Support Medals purchased on InterstellarMarines.com! (Please read on for details).
Gert may not be Lvl16 in Bullseye, but he’s the primary reason why we’re here today!
People were commenting on our forums that they would like to support more but didn’t get anything beyond the first 20 Support Medals. Additionally Nocheiner asked if it was somehow possible to achieve shareholder ownership in addition to the initial pre-purchase and support of our games!
Based on these discussions an idea came to me recently and this article outlines my personal initiative to make these requests a reality.
The “Shares for Support Medals Giveaway”
My idea is simple; I will give away 100.000 of my personal shares in ZPH for Support Medals (Total ZPH shares is 1.211.605), which could potentially accumulate to $500.000 in revenue and take this AAA Indie initiative to a whole new level.
To anyone who owns more than 20 Support Medals, I will personally transfer 10 of my ZPH shares for every 10 additional Support Medals owned. Hence if you own 30 Support Medals – the first 20 Support Medals “pimp’s” your marine badge and the next 10 Support Medals earns you 10 of my ZPH shares.
Support Medals are purchased in the shop via PayPal and go directly into the PayPal account of Zero Point Holding A/S avoiding any ideas of misappropriation.
We already have several Super-Supporters who owns more than 20 Support Medals and I will obviously honor these in the same fashion, retrospectively.
The “Shares for Support Medals Giveaway” is time-limited to 3 months (ending May 31st 2011) to allow everybody to get their ZPH Share Certificates in one go, avoiding spiraling legal costs for me.
- On May 31st 2011 all Community Members with more than 20 Support Medals are informed via email about their share-entitlement (10 ZPH shares for every 10 Support Medals above the first 20 Support Medals).
- Community Members provide me with full name and address and signs a Transfer Agreement with me (Please see below).
- The official ZPH share register is updated with the Danish authorities (Companies House, Inland Revenue etc.) during the first week of June 2011 and ZPH Share Certificates (PDF) is sent via email to all community shareholders in versions of 10, 100, 1000 complete with full name, address and unique certificate number from the official ZPH share register.
The Transfer Agreement covers that the eligible Community Member takes on responsibility for registering his/her shareholding as appropriate in their country / jurisdiction and, in the case of future dividend payments (if we are so lucky), that they personally submit to paying all taxes etc. due from these as well as provide account details etc. for electronic transfers (or collects at own expense) etc., to avoid a back-lash, either way, in the future.
To avoid having too fragmented a voting process at Annual General Meetings and Board Meetings, the Transfer Agreement also requests that Community Members transfer their vote, by Proxy, to me. I hope the members concerned will trust me to do right by them.
Final words and thoughts
To elevate the public awareness and acknowledgement of the “Shares for Support Medals Giveaway” my guys at Zero Point Software (ZPS) have promised me that they’ll implement cool shareholder ribbons to member profile pages, comments and forum posts, as soon as possible.
I have to emphasize that this is a personal initiative of mine, which means that all inquiries and feedback have to be directed at me (firstname.lastname@example.org), not ZPH or ZPS. I have my fellow shareholders’ approval for transferring my shares to Support Medal owners, as long as it does not affect them directly.
In the end I would rather share the potential upside, with the ones that truly matter; You – the IM community – than selling big chunks to “suits” that do not share our passion for games!
FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME,
Whether or not owning shares in this company is a wise investment I leave to the individual to decide, but I think it’s a clever way to offer at least a small amount of ownership to players in the community who simply don’t have the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to be venture capitalists in the traditional sense. As a man who can afford a couple hundred dollars of investment at best, I’d love to see a similar approach take root in other interesting indie games trying to get off the ground.